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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter may be getting a 'free roam' mode on PC

The first-person supernatural mystery The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is good stuff. We called it a "intriguing, mostly satisfying, and most importantly, wonderfully restrained" story in our 82/100 review, and the biggest complaint—lack of a manual save option—was addressed in a "Redux" update that dropped in 2015. And now it looks like another update adding a peaceful, puzzle-free "free roam" mode, could be on the way too. 

The mode is on the way, in the Xbox One version of the game that's coming out later this month. "Many people agree this is one of the most beautiful games on the market, and some expressed a desire to explore the environment without any darkness in it, and by darkness we mean bloodies [sic] corpses and locked doors. They wanted to just have a nice relaxing walk down the Red Creek Valley," The Astronauts co-founder Adrian Chmielarz explained. "That option now exists, and it’s called the Free Roam mode. Everything that was gameplay and everything that was evil is removed from the game in that mode." 

Chmielarz also posted a few images demonstrating what the game looks like in the new mode. "Turn down the music, leaving only sound effects on, and it’s like you’re really there," he wrote. 

Before

Before

After—no blood or interactivity prompts

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that the free roam mode will be released for the PC version of the game. For one thing, it's apparently a timed exclusive feature for the Xbox One, but more importantly the job will require more effort that you might expect. Updating the PS4 version sounds like the biggest sticking point, but the PC version gets caught up in that too.   

"It’s not like the Free Roam-enhanced PS4 (plus 4K on Pro) and PC versions (well, 4K is already there) are locked behind a key, just waiting to be released one day. Some serious work needs to be put in first in order to make them happen," Chmielarz said. 

"For now, we’ll just wait and see if there’s any demand for the feature to come to PS4 and PC one day. It does seem like it, since this section of the post exists exactly because you are already asking. So we will probably do it, but the 'probably' is a key word here. We cannot guarantee the feature happening 100%, because, again, it’s not as easy as we are sure some people believe it is." 

The Astronauts announced in December that it is working on a new project called Witchfire, which looks to me like The Vanishing of Daniel Garner Killed My Dick. We can only hope.

Thanks, RPS.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.